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Contemporary notices of the original Faustus are not wanting.
The learned Trithemius, Abbot of Spanheim, in a letter of the 20th of August, 1507, mentioned Magister Georgius Sabellicus, Faustus junior, as a pretender to magic, met with at Gelnhausen.
Conrad Mudt, Latinised Mutianus Rufus, a friend of Melancthon and Reuchlin, whom Luther praised for his culture and who died in 1526, wrote on the 3rd of October, 1513, from Erfurth, of the visit paid to that town a few days before by Georgius Faustus Hemitheus Hedibergensis, as a braggart and a fool who affected magic, whom he had heard talking in a tavern, and who had raised the theologians against him.
Under the date 1525, there is recorded in Vogel's "Annals of Leipzig" (published in 1714), Dr. Johann Faust's visit to the Auerbach cellar, and there is this date over one of the two pictures in the cellar showing (1) how Faustus rode out into the street on one of its casks of wine, and (2) how he regaled the students with the wine so carried off.
In the year 1539, Dr. Philip Begardi, in a book called "Index Sanitatis," speaks of the vast reputation of one Faustus for skill in physic and magic, and of many people who had complained to Begardi that Faustus had swindled them. But, he adds, what matter? Hin ist hin-gone is gone. This comment may possibly refer to Faust as dead and not worth saying any more about (tradition made his death-year 1538), but it may also mean that it is of no use for the cheated to complain of losses they will not recover: that it is of no use to cry over spilt milk. But about this time Faustus must have lied, for in the undated second volume of Table Talk -"Convivialium Sermonum," by the Protestant theologian Johann Gast (Vol. I. was published in 1543)—there are stories of Faustus as dead, and they for the first time publish the statement that his body after death would not lie with its face to heaven, but five times, when so placed, turned itself face down ward, and that the devil took him.
In 1561 the great naturalist, Conrad Gesner, writing to a friend on the 16th of August, referred to Faustus as a famous conjuror who died "not long ago.”
In 1562 Johann Mennel, Latinised Manlius, published at Basle a Common-place Book ("Locorum Communium Collectanea") of notes taken during many years, chiefly of what he had heard in conversations with Melancthon, and also of things told to him by various learned men. He ascribed to Me lanethon stories about Faustus, whom he had known. This Faustus was born at Kundling (Knittlingen, a frontier town of Wurtemberg), not far from his own native town of Bretten, in Baden. Faustus, Melancthon said, studied at Cracow, and learnt magic, which was openly taught there. It was, indeed, according to the views then held of the secrets of nature, a liberal science in the eyes of many advanced thinkers of the sixteenth century, who never thought of trading on the ignorant with vain pretensions. Afterwards, said Melancthon to Mennel, Faustus roamed about, and he was at a village inn in Wurtemberg when he was taken by the devil.
In 1587 Philip Camerarius, son of a close friend of
Melancthon's, writing a book of small talk which was not published until 1602, told of Faust as a wellknown magician who lived "in the time of our fathers."
In 1587, on the 18th of April, two students of the University of Tübingen were imprisoned for writing a Comedy of Faustus. In autumn of the same year there appeared at the book fair of Frankfort on the Main, the German book from which all subsequent versions of the Faustus legend have descended. author was strongly Protestant, probably a pastor, and he made Faustus the hero of any stories of magic, serious or comic, that could be added to the popular tradition of his life and death, for the purpose of giving wide popularity to a lesson against pride of knowledge and presumption towards God, or helping to bring into contempt "the Pope that Pagan full of pride." The book was at once fastened upon by many readers. A metrical version of it into English was licensed by Aylmer, Bishop of London, before the end of the year. In 1588 there was a rhymed version of it into German, also a translation into low German, and a new edition of the original with some slight changes. In 1589 there appeared a version of the first German Faust book into French, by Victor Palma Cayet. The English pure version was made from the second edition of the original, that of 1588, and is undated, but probably was made at once. There was a revised edition of it in 1592. In 1592 there was a Dutch translation from the second German edition. This gives the time of the carrying off of Faustus by the devil as the night between the 23rd and 24th of October, 1538. The English version also gives 1538 as the year, and it is a date, as we have seen, consistent with trustworthy references to his actual life.
Marlowe's play was probably written in 1588, soon after the original story had found its way to England. He treated the legend as a poet, bringing out with all his power its central thought-man in the pride of knowledge turning from his God. The voices of his good and evil angel in the ear of Faustus, one bidding him repent and hope, the other bidding him despair, were devised by Marlowe himself for the better I painting of a soul within the toils of Satan; and the beautiful scene in which an old man seeks to warn Faustus was developed into poetry out of a very trivial incident in the original. To the play as first published in 1604 additions had been made for which, on the 22nd of November, 1602, Dr. Bride and S. Rawley received four pounds. The popularity of the subject caused the piece to be very freely dealt with by the players; and although in the published version (which includes at least four pounds' worth of additions) the clown scenes bear a smaller proportion to the whole than in the original story, there can be no doubt that the appetite of the many for “such conceits as clownage keeps in pay" had led to a large addition of matter of this kind which Marlowe himself had avoided. He has no clown in any other play. There was evidence of more change in the next printed edition, that of 1616. There were other additions in 1624 and 1631, and one in 1663, spoilt by much later changes and additions. The text here given is the earliest, that of 1604.
From the title-page of an old undated German Tract on Magic, "D. Faustus Dreyfacher Höllen-Zwang."
TRAGICAL HISTORY OF DOCTOR FAUSTUS. Eater Chorus.
Chorus. Not marching now in fields of Thrasymene, Where Mars did mate1 the Carthaginians;
Nor sporting in the dalliance of love,
In courts of kings where state is overturn'd;
The fruitful plot of scholarism grac'd,
That shortly he was grac'd with doctor's name,
And glutted now with learning's golden gifts,
FAUSTUS discovered in his study.
1 Mate, deprive of force, confound. See "Shorter English Poems," Note 1, page 174.
2 Rhodes. Roda is given in the English version of the Faust book as the birth-place of Faustus.
3 Whereas, where. So in "Henry VI.," Part II., act i., sc. 2:"You do intend to ride unto St. Alban's
Whereas the King and Queen do mean to hawk."
Here probably the speaker drew a curtain before quitting the
To sound the depth of that thou wilt profess:
And live and die in Aristotle's works.
Is, to dispute well, logic's chiefest end?
Affords this art no greater miracle?
Then read no more; thou hast attain'd that end.
A greater subject fitteth Faustus' wit:
Bid Economy farewell, and Galen come,
Seeing, Ubi desinit philosophus, ibi incipit medicus:6
Be a physician, Faustus; heap up gold,
And be etérniz'd for some wondrous cure:
The end of physic is our body's health.
Why, Faustus, hast thou not attain'd that end?
Si peccasse negamus, fallimur, et nulla est in nobis veritas; If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there's no truth in us. Why, then, belike we must sin, and so consequently die:
Ay, we must die an everlasting death.
And necromantic books are heavenly;
Is promis'd to the studious artisan!
All things that move between the quiet poles
Nor can they raise the wind, or rend the clouds;
5 "To discuss well is the end of logic." In what follows it will be observed that Faustus is looking to the chief aim of each of his studies -"levels at the end of every art."
6 Where the philosopher ends, the physician begins.
7 Bills, official writings, from "bulla," a seal. Physician's prescriptions were so called, as here.
When one and the same thing is bequeathed to two persons one has the thing, the other the value of the thing, &c.
A father cannot disinherit a son unless, &c. These are beginning's of passages in the Institutes of Justinian.
But his dominion that exceeds in this
Here, Faustus, tire thy brains to gain a deity.
Wagner, commend me to my dearest friends, The German Valdes and Cornelius; 2 Request them earnestly to visit me.
Wag. I will, sir.
Faust. Their conference will be a greater help to me Than all my labours, plod I ne'er so fast.
Enter Good Angel and Evil Angel.
G. Ang. O Faustus, lay that damnéd book aside,
E. Ang. Go forward, Faustus, in that famous art
Faust. How am I glutted with conceit of this! Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please, Resolve me of all ambiguities,
Perform what desperate enterprise I will?
And search all corners of the new-found world
For pleasant fruits and princely delicates;
And chase the Prince of Parma3 from our land,
Enter VALDES and CORNELIUS.
1 His dominion that, the dominion of him who. Valdes and Cornelius are not taken from the Faust book. Marlowe invented their names. The Good Angel and Evil Angel are also added by Marlowe throughout.
The Prince of Parma. Don John died on the 1st of October, 1578, and was succeeded in civil and military command in the Netherlands by Alexander Farnese, his nephew, cool, artful, and the ablest governor yet sent to the Netherlands from Spain. In July, 1581, the States. General at the Hague repudiated Philip II. by an Act of Abjuration, which recited his crimes against the people. The Prince of Orange then accepted the sovereignty of Holland and Zealand. Farnese showed military talent, but approved of the assassination of William on the 10th of July, 1584. In 1586 Farnese became, by the death of his father, Duke of Parma. In October of that year Sir Philip Sidney received his death-wound before Zutphen. In June, 1587, the Duke of Parma besieged Sluys. In November the Duke of Parma was at the head of 40,000 men, and Philip of Spain planned his action against England, with pretended negotiations for peace. The Duke of Parma was withdrawn to France in 1590, and absent from the Netherlands in 1501.
• The fiery keel at Antwerp's bridge. Farnese, after the fall of Ghent, besieged Antwerp, and made a stupendous bridge across the Scheldt to ent the city off from the maritime provinces and the sea. Use of a fireship was then devised by an Italian engineer, and by its explosion eight hundred were killed. This was in 1585.
Know that your words have won me at the last
Vald. Faustus, these books, thy wit, and our experience, Shall make all nations to canónize us.
As Indian Moors obey their Spanish lords,
So shall the spirits of every element
Be always serviceable to us three;
Like lions shall they guard us when we please;
Or Lapland giants, trotting by our sides;
Faust. Valdes, as resolute am I in this As thou to live: therefore object it not. Corn. The miracles that magic will perform Will make thee vow to study nothing else. He that is grounded in astrology, Enrich'd with tongues, well seen in minerals, Hath all the principles magic doth require : Then doubt not, Faustus, but to be renown'd, And more frequented for this mystery Than heretofore the Delphian oracle. The spirits tell me they can dry the sea, And fetch the treasure of all foreign wrecks, Ay, all the wealth that our forefathers hid Within the massy entrails of the earth: Then tell me, Faustus, what shall we three want? Faust. Nothing, Cornelius. Oh, this cheers my soul! Come, shew me some demonstrations magical, That I may conjure in some lusty grove, And have these joys in full possession.
Vald. Then haste thee to some solitary grove, And bear wise Bacon's and Albertus' works,
5 Agrippa. Cornelius Agrippa, whose reputation for magic probably caused Marlowe to call one of his German magicians here Cornelius. Valdes recalls the old French " Vaudès," an enchanter, thought by some to have been applied to Peter Waldus and the Waldenses. • Almain rutters, German "reiter," troopers.
7 The possessions of Spain in the New World much aided Philip of Spain in his conflict with the Protestants.
8 Well seen, skilled; once a common English phrase obtained probably by imitation of a classical form, "spectatus," which in Latin was used in a like sense. So Shakespeare writes in "The Taming of the Shrew," "It's a schoolmaster well seen in music."
9 Roger Bacon died, aged seventy-eight, in 1292. Albertus Magnus died, not younger than seventy-five, in 1280. Advanced students of nature passed with the unlearned for magicians.
Even Virgil was by
The Hebrew Psalter, and New Testament;
And whatsoever else is requisite
We will inform thee ere our conference cease.
Corn. Valdes, first let him know the words of art;
Vald. First I'll instruct thee in the rudiments,
And then wilt thou be perfecter than I.
Faust. Then come and dine with me, and, after meat,
We'll canvass every quiddity' thereof;
For, ere I sleep, I'll try what I can do:
Enter two Scholars.
Sec. Schol. Well, you will not tell us?
Wag. Yes, sir, I will tell you: yet, if you were not dunces, you would never ask me such a question; for is not he corpus naturale ? and is not that mobile? then wherefore should you ask me such a question? But that I am by nature phlegmatic, slow to wrath, and prone to lechery (to love, I would say), it were not for you to come within forty foot of the place of execution, although I do not doubt to see you both hanged the next sessions. Thus having triumphed over you, I will set my countenance like a precisian," and begin to speak thus:-Truly, my dear brethren, my master is within at dinner, with Valdes and Cornelius, as this wine, if it could speak, would inform your worships: and so, the Lord bless you, preserve you, and keep you, my dear brethren, my dear brethren! [Exit. First Schol. Nay, then, I fear he has fallen into that
the popular tales made into an enchanter. Roger Bacon was a Francisan Friar, the foremost English thinker in the thirteenth century. Albertus, a Suabian, who was called Magnus by the Latinising of his surname Groot, was a Dominican Friar and Provincial of his Order, which was established for the maintenance of strict orthodoxy and resistance to the devil. His reputation for learning gave Albertus a popular character like that of his English contemporary Roger Bacon, and each of them became hero of a legend of a brazen head.
1 Quiddity, Low Latin "quiditas," somethingness, a scholastic term for the nature or essence of a thing. Then it came to be used for any subtle turn or nicety; thus in the First Part of "Henry IV.," act i., sc. 2, Falstaff says to Prince Hal, "How now, mad wag, what, in thy quips and thy quiddities!" And Cranmer to Gardiner, "I trow some mathematical quiddity, they cannot tell what." (Quoted in Nares' "Glossary," edited by Halliwell and Wright.)
damned art for which they two are infamous through the world.
Sec. Schol. Were he a stranger, and not allied to me, yet should I grieve for him. But, come, let us go and inform the Rector, and see if he by his grave counsel can reclaim him.
First Schol. Oh, but I fear me nothing can reclaim him! Sec. Schol. Yet let us try what we can do. [Exeunt.
Enter FAUSTUS to conjure.
Faust. Now that the gloomy shadow of the earth,
Leaps from th' antarctic world unto the sky,
And try if devils will obey thy hest,6
I charge thee to return, and change thy shape;
6 Hest, First-English "hæst," command.
7" Be gods of Acheron propitious to me! Farewell to Jehovah's triple deity! Spirits of fire, air, and of water, hail! Belzebub, Prince of the Orient, monarch of burning hell, and Demogorgon, we propitiate you, that Mephistophilis may appear and rise, that you may [cause him to break forth]. By Jove, Gehenna, and the consecrated water I now sprinkle, and the sign of the cross I now make, and by our vows, let there now rise to us the said Mephistophiles." Supposing “tumeraris," a corrupt word, to have some sort of relation to "tumeo" and "tumesco," I have jumped at a sort of meaning for it [cause him to break forth] which may serve badly in place of none. In later quartos the text reads "surgat Mephistophilis Dragon, quod tumeraris." The name of the familiar of Faustus first appears in the Frankfort book of 1587, which was entitled "Historia von D. Johann Fausten, dem weit beschreyten Zauberer und Schwartzkünstler, Wie er sich gegen dem Teuffel auf eine benandte Zeit verschrieben, Was er inzwischen für seltzame Abenthewr gesehen, selbs angerichtet und getrieben, biss er endtlich seinen wohlverdienten lohn empfangen. Mehrertheils auss seinen eygenen hinderlassenen Schrifften, allen hochtragenden fürwitzigen und Gottlosen Menschen zum schrecklichen Beyspiel, abschewlichen Exempel und trewhertziger Warnung zusammengezogen und in Druck verfertigt. Jacobi IIII. Seydt Gott underthänig, widerstehet dem Teuffel, so fleuhet er von euch." A long title ending with the text "Submit yourselves to God, resist the Devil, and he will flee from you." In this first Faust book, the name as written by its inventor was Mephostophiles. Among guesses at what the inventor of the name meant by it, one is that he meant one who was not a lover of light, from un, pus and pixos, as it were Mephotophiles with the s of pas inserted. To Beelzebub the Jews assigned the sovereignty of evil spirits. There are several references in the New Testament to this belief. Matthew x. 25, "It is enough for the disciple if he be as his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household ? ** Mark iii. 22, "He hath Beelzebub, and by the Prince of Devils casteth he out devils; also Luke xi. 15, "through Beelzebub the Chief of the Devils." Báalzebub was the form of Baal (Báal means Lord), worshipped at Ekron. The added word gives for the whole meaning. Lord of the Fly. Baalzebul, another form of the word, is said to
Re-enter MEPHISTOPHILIS like a Franciscan friar. Meph. Now, Faustus, what wouldst thou have me do? Faust. I charge thee wait upon me whilst I live,
To do whatever Faustus shall command,
Be it to make the moon drop from her sphere,
Meph. I am a servant to great Lucifer,
No more than he commands must we perform.
Faust. Did not he charge thee to appear to me?
Faust. Did not my conjuring speeches raise thee? speak.
And pray devoutly to the prince of hell.
Already done; and holds this principle,
mean Lord of the Habitation, i.e. the Heavens or the Body of Man; others interpret it, Lord of Dung or of the Dunghill; and as the scarabee or dung-beetle was his symbol, another theory has made the dung-beetle his Fly, and found Báalzébub and Báalzébul to be prac tically synonymous. Cornelius Agrippa, in his Magic, described nine orders of Demons:-(1) Those who have usurped the name of God, and the Prince of these is Beelzebub, who said, "I will mount above the clouds, I will be equal to the Most High." (2) The Lying Spirits, whose chief is the serpent Python that gave his name to the Pythian Apollo. (3) Vessels of Iniquity, called also Vessels of Wrath, inventors of evil arts, as dicing, &c., which lead men astray. Their chief is Belial, whose name means without restraint, prevaricator and apostate. (4) Avengers of misdeeds. Their chief is Asmodeus, that is, executor of judgment. (5) Those who seduce the people with evil magic, enabling witches and wizards to perform false miracles, to seduce men as the serpent seduced Eve. Their chief is Satan, or Lucifer. (6) Powers of the Air, who blend with thunder, produce pestilence, &c. The Prince of the Powers of the Air is Meririm, stormy spirit of the south. (7) The Furies who sow discord, war and devastation. Their chief is Apollyon, in Hebrew Abaddon, which means extermination. (8) The Accusers or Searchers, their chief Ashtaroth, which means explorer; in Greek diáßotos (devil), accuser or calumniator. (9) The Tempters called Evil Geniuses, whose chief is Mammon. Demogorgon, named in the incantation, signified in medieval chemistry the central fire, the brimstone of which all is born. Gehenna was a name for Hell, derived from the fire and smoke in Ge-Hinnom, the valley of Hinnom on the west side of Jerusalem, where the Jews burnt the dead bodies of criminals, &c., to defile what had been a place sacred to Moloch, in whose worship children were passed through fire. 1 Why not rule Mephistophiles in the form of a friar.
By accident, in logical use of the term; not the essential cause. 1 Rack. First-English "ræ can,' ," to stretch, torture, twist.
Tell me what is that Lucifer thy lord?
Meph. Arch-regent and commander of all spirits.
For which God threw him from the face of heaven.
And are for ever damn'd with Lucifer.
Faust. Where are you damn'd?
Meph. In hell.
Faust. How comes it, then, that thou art out of hell?
Meph. Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it: 5
O Faustus, leave these frivolous demands,
Faust. What! is great Mephistophilis so passionate
For being deprivéd of the joys of heaven?
Go bear these tidings to great Lucifer:
Seeing Faustus hath incurr'd eternal death
So he will spare him four and twenty years,
To give me whatsoever I shall ask,
To tell me whatsoever I demand,
To slay mine enemies and aid my friends,
Lucifer. The name comes from Isaiah, chap. xiv., where Israel is to take up the proverb against the King of Babylon (verses 12-15), "How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations. For thou saidst in thine heart, I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit down also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to Hell, to the sides of the pit." From the time of St. Jerome downward this symbolical representation of the King of Babylon in his splendour and fall has been applied to Satan in his fall from heaven, probably because Babylon is in Scripture a type of tyrannical self-idolizing power, and is connected in the Book of Revelation with the empire of the Evil One. There is no other reason for giving the name of Lucifer to the Devil.
5 Compare Milton's "Paradise Lost," Book I., lines 254, 255, "The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven;"
and Book IV., lines 73-75,
"Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
Also "Comus," lines 381-4,
"He that has light within his own clear breast